Borealis Medusa

Portugal's Borealis Watch Company is a microbrand that has clearly found its groove. From model to model and year to year, they consistently turn out quality diver's watches that offer excellent value for the money. Their latest offering is the Medusa, a 500m automatic. They let me take a turn with blue prototype and assured me that with the exception of some minor fine-tuning with the finishing, it was an accurate reflection of what the final production watches will be.

Borealis Medusa blue

The Medusa's heart is a Miyota 9015, a 24 jewel, 28.8k bph automatic that hacks, hand winds, and will run just over 40-hours when fully wound. I have found the 9015's rotor can be a little noisy, but this one was not. Whether it was by virtue of the heavy-duty case insulating the noise or just a particularly smooth rotor, I'll never know, but I appreciate the quiet.

Borealis Medusa blue side

While the Medusa's stainless steel case has a healthy 45mm diameter, its bezel is significantly smaller, just 41.5mm. This exposes the upper surface of the case, a beveled ring that meets the vertical case sides, in turn giving way to another bevel reducing to the decorated case back. Viewed head-on, the radially brushed perimeter frames the watch's face and provides an excellent place to recess the crown. In profile, the steep angle and slanted cuts of the bezel meet the gentler slope of the case, and on the left side, a helium release valve mirrors the crown on the right. It's an appealing look. 

Borealis Medusa blue profile

The Medusa may be a broad watch, but the lugless design means it is shorter between the wrist bones than many 40-42mm watches. Combine this with a reasonable 12.5mm thickness from case back to crystal, and you have a very wearable watch, even for modestly-sized guys like myself. I wouldn't try to wear the Medusa to a job interview, but if I did, I could tuck it neatly beneath most dress shirt cuffs.

Borealis Medusa blue wrist

I could be tempted to break my "no tool watches with suits" rule for this one (truth be told, I bend that rule all the time) because unlike its namesake, the Medusa is really quite pretty. The prototype's dial is a rich royal blue with polished markers, baton hands, and paddle second hand. While the markers are not terribly tall, close inspection reveals that this is a sandwich dial. Square cut outs above the markers reveal a layer of white BWG9 SuperLuminova beneath. The little bit of height provided by the markers, combined with the little bit of depth in the cut outs, lend the dial a pleasing sense of dimension. The same color and lume also grace the applied markers, hands, and the sapphire bezel insert - and oh, what lume it is, generating enough light to make this my easiest night shot in ages.  

Borealis Medusa blue lume

The 22mm bracelet has solid end links, single-ended screws, and a push-button clasp with a ratcheting wet suit extension. Ratcheting clasps seem to be all the rage with micros lately, appearing on the Aevig Baleur, NTH Tropics, and Zelos Hammerhead. Ratchets tend to be fatter than similarly sized flip-lock clasps, but the Medusa's is well proportioned, neither overshadowing the links nor unbalancing the case. It also has a couple of micro adjustments for fine tuning.

Borealis Medusa blue clasp

This is the part of the review where I would normally tell you how much the watch costs and whether it is a good value. Well, not today. Borealis is still working on its pricing, saying only that it will be "competitive." Based on their previous models, like the $475 Bull Shark and Cascais, I have no reason to doubt that. Look for a pre-order launch later this month. For more information, stay tuned to ⬩

Borealis Medusa blue
Borealis Medusa blue case back

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